Florida Senate - 2017                             CS for SB 1682
       By the Committee on Regulated Industries; and Senators Garcia,
       Rodriguez, and Artiles
       580-03447-17                                          20171682c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to condominiums; amending s. 718.111,
    3         F.S.; prohibiting an association from hiring an
    4         attorney that represents the management company of the
    5         association; prohibiting a board member, manager, or
    6         management company from purchasing a unit at a
    7         foreclosure sale under certain circumstances;
    8         providing recordkeeping requirements; providing that
    9         the official records of an association are open to
   10         inspection by unit renters; providing that a renter of
   11         a unit has a right to inspect and copy the
   12         association’s bylaws and rules; providing criminal
   13         penalties; providing a definition; providing
   14         requirements relating to the posting of specified
   15         documents on an association’s website; providing a
   16         remedy for an association’s failure to provide a unit
   17         owner with a copy of the most recent financial report;
   18         requiring the Division of Florida Condominiums,
   19         Timeshares, and Mobile Homes to maintain and provide
   20         copies of financial reports; amending s. 718.112,
   21         F.S.; providing board member term limits; providing an
   22         exception; deleting certification requirements
   23         relating to the recall of board members; revising the
   24         amount of time in which a recalled board member must
   25         turn over records and property of the association to
   26         the board; prohibiting certain associations from
   27         employing or contracting with a service provider that
   28         is owned or operated by certain persons; amending s.
   29         718.1255, F.S.; authorizing, rather than requiring,
   30         the division to employ full-time attorneys to conduct
   31         certain arbitration hearings; providing requirements
   32         for the certification of arbitrators; prohibiting the
   33         Department of Business and Professional Regulation
   34         from entering into a legal services contract for
   35         certain arbitration hearings; requiring the division
   36         to assign or enter into contracts with arbitrators;
   37         requiring arbitrators to conduct hearings within a
   38         specified period; providing an exception; providing
   39         arbitration proceeding requirements; creating s.
   40         718.129, F.S.; providing that certain activities
   41         constitute fraudulent voting activities related to
   42         association elections; providing criminal penalties;
   43         amending s. 718.3025, F.S.; prohibiting specified
   44         parties from purchasing a unit at a foreclosure sale
   45         resulting from the association’s foreclosure of
   46         association lien for unpaid assessments or from taking
   47         a deed in lieu of foreclosures; authorizing a contract
   48         with a party providing maintenance or management
   49         services to be cancelled by a majority vote of certain
   50         unit owners under specified conditions; creating s.
   51         718.3027, F.S.; providing requirements relating to
   52         board director and officer conflicts of interest;
   53         providing that certain contracts are voidable if they
   54         do not meet specified notice requirements and
   55         terminate, subject to a certain condition; amending s.
   56         718.303, F.S.; providing requirements relating to the
   57         suspension of voting rights of unit owners and
   58         members; prohibiting a receiver from exercising the
   59         voting rights of a unit owner whose unit is placed in
   60         receivership; amending s. 718.5012, F.S.; providing
   61         the ombudsman with an additional power; creating s.
   62         718.71, F.S.; providing financial reporting
   63         requirements of an association; providing an effective
   64         date.
   66  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   68         Section 1. Subsections (3) and (9), paragraphs (a) and (c)
   69  of subsection (12), and subsection (13) of section 718.111,
   70  Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph (g) is added to
   71  subsection (12) of that section, to read:
   72         718.111 The association.—
   75         (a) The association may contract, sue, or be sued with
   76  respect to the exercise or nonexercise of its powers. For these
   77  purposes, the powers of the association include, but are not
   78  limited to, the maintenance, management, and operation of the
   79  condominium property. After control of the association is
   80  obtained by unit owners other than the developer, the
   81  association may institute, maintain, settle, or appeal actions
   82  or hearings in its name on behalf of all unit owners concerning
   83  matters of common interest to most or all unit owners,
   84  including, but not limited to, the common elements; the roof and
   85  structural components of a building or other improvements;
   86  mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements serving an
   87  improvement or a building; representations of the developer
   88  pertaining to any existing or proposed commonly used facilities;
   89  and protesting ad valorem taxes on commonly used facilities and
   90  on units; and may defend actions in eminent domain or bring
   91  inverse condemnation actions. If the association has the
   92  authority to maintain a class action, the association may be
   93  joined in an action as representative of that class with
   94  reference to litigation and disputes involving the matters for
   95  which the association could bring a class action. Nothing herein
   96  limits any statutory or common-law right of any individual unit
   97  owner or class of unit owners to bring any action without
   98  participation by the association which may otherwise be
   99  available.
  100         (b)An association may not hire an attorney that represents
  101  the management company of the association.
  102         (9) PURCHASE OF UNITS.—The association has the power,
  103  unless prohibited by the declaration, articles of incorporation,
  104  or bylaws of the association, to purchase units in the
  105  condominium and to acquire and hold, lease, mortgage, and convey
  106  them. There shall be no limitation on the association’s right to
  107  purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the
  108  association’s foreclosure of its lien for unpaid assessments, or
  109  to take title by deed in lieu of foreclosure. However, except
  110  for a timeshare condominium, a board member, manager, or
  111  management company may not purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale
  112  resulting from the association’s foreclosure of its lien for
  113  unpaid assessments or take title by deed in lieu of foreclosure.
  114         (12) OFFICIAL RECORDS.—
  115         (a) From the inception of the association, the association
  116  shall maintain each of the following items, if applicable, which
  117  constitutes the official records of the association:
  118         1. A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other
  119  items provided by the developer pursuant to s. 718.301(4).
  120         2. A photocopy of the recorded declaration of condominium
  121  of each condominium operated by the association and each
  122  amendment to each declaration.
  123         3. A photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the association
  124  and each amendment to the bylaws.
  125         4. A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the
  126  association, or other documents creating the association, and
  127  each amendment thereto.
  128         5. A copy of the current rules of the association.
  129         6. A book or books that contain the minutes of all meetings
  130  of the association, the board of administration, and the unit
  131  owners, which minutes must be retained for at least 7 years.
  132         7. A current roster of all unit owners and their mailing
  133  addresses, unit identifications, voting certifications, and, if
  134  known, telephone numbers. The association shall also maintain
  135  the electronic mailing addresses and facsimile numbers of unit
  136  owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission.
  137  The electronic mailing addresses and facsimile numbers are not
  138  accessible to unit owners if consent to receive notice by
  139  electronic transmission is not provided in accordance with sub
  140  subparagraph (c)5.e. subparagraph (c)5. However, the association
  141  is not liable for an inadvertent disclosure of the electronic
  142  mail address or facsimile number for receiving electronic
  143  transmission of notices.
  144         8. All current insurance policies of the association and
  145  condominiums operated by the association.
  146         9. A current copy of any management agreement, lease, or
  147  other contract to which the association is a party or under
  148  which the association or the unit owners have an obligation or
  149  responsibility.
  150         10. Bills of sale or transfer for all property owned by the
  151  association.
  152         11. Accounting records for the association and separate
  153  accounting records for each condominium that the association
  154  operates. All accounting records must be maintained for at least
  155  7 years. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or
  156  destroys such records, or who knowingly or intentionally fails
  157  to create or maintain such records, with the intent of causing
  158  harm to the association or one or more of its members, is
  159  personally subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s.
  160  718.501(1)(d). The accounting records must include, but are not
  161  limited to:
  162         a. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts
  163  and expenditures.
  164         b. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly
  165  statement of the account for each unit designating the name of
  166  the unit owner, the due date and amount of each assessment, the
  167  amount paid on the account, and the balance due.
  168         c. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and
  169  financial reports of the association or condominium.
  170         d. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to
  171  be performed are also considered official records and must be
  172  maintained by the association.
  173         12. Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other
  174  papers relating to voting by unit owners, which must be
  175  maintained for 1 year from the date of the election, vote, or
  176  meeting to which the document relates, notwithstanding paragraph
  177  (b).
  178         13. All rental records if the association is acting as
  179  agent for the rental of condominium units.
  180         14. A copy of the current question and answer sheet as
  181  described in s. 718.504.
  182         15. All other written records of the association not
  183  specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the
  184  operation of the association.
  185         16. A copy of the inspection report as described in s.
  186  718.301(4)(p).
  187         17.Bids for materials, equipment, or services.
  188         (c)1. The official records of the association are open to
  189  inspection by any association member or the authorized
  190  representative of such member at all reasonable times. The right
  191  to inspect the records includes the right to make or obtain
  192  copies, at the reasonable expense, if any, of the member or
  193  authorized representative of such member. A renter of a unit has
  194  a right to inspect and copy the association’s bylaws and rules.
  195  The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the
  196  frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of record
  197  inspections and copying. The failure of an association to
  198  provide the records within 10 working days after receipt of a
  199  written request creates a rebuttable presumption that the
  200  association willfully failed to comply with this paragraph. A
  201  unit owner who is denied access to official records is entitled
  202  to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s
  203  willful failure to comply. Minimum damages are $50 per calendar
  204  day for up to 10 days, beginning on the 11th working day after
  205  receipt of the written request. The failure to permit inspection
  206  entitles any person prevailing in an enforcement action to
  207  recover reasonable attorney fees from the person in control of
  208  the records who, directly or indirectly, knowingly denied access
  209  to the records.
  210         2.Any director or member of the board or association who
  211  knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly violates subparagraph 1.
  212  commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as
  213  provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. For purposes of this
  214  subparagraph, the term “repeatedly violates” means more than two
  215  violations within a 12-month period.
  216         3. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or
  217  destroys accounting records that are required by this chapter to
  218  be maintained during the period for which such records are
  219  required to be maintained, or who knowingly or intentionally
  220  fails to create or maintain accounting records that are required
  221  to be created or maintained, with the intent of causing harm to
  222  the association or one or more of its members, commits a
  223  misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s.
  224  775.082 or s. 775.083.
  225         4.Any person who willfully and knowingly refuses to
  226  release or otherwise produce association records with the intent
  227  of facilitating the commission of a crime or avoiding or
  228  escaping detection, arrest, trial, or punishment for a crime
  229  commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in
  230  s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084 is personally subject to a
  231  civil penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d).
  232         5. The association shall maintain an adequate number of
  233  copies of the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws,
  234  and rules, and all amendments to each of the foregoing, as well
  235  as the question and answer sheet as described in s. 718.504 and
  236  year-end financial information required under this section, on
  237  the condominium property to ensure their availability to unit
  238  owners and prospective purchasers, and may charge its actual
  239  costs for preparing and furnishing these documents to those
  240  requesting the documents. An association shall allow a member or
  241  his or her authorized representative to use a portable device,
  242  including a smartphone, tablet, portable scanner, or any other
  243  technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an
  244  electronic copy of the official records in lieu of the
  245  association’s providing the member or his or her authorized
  246  representative with a copy of such records. The association may
  247  not charge a member or his or her authorized representative for
  248  the use of a portable device. Notwithstanding this paragraph,
  249  the following records are not accessible to unit owners:
  250         a.1. Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as
  251  described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work
  252  product privilege, including a record prepared by an association
  253  attorney or prepared at the attorney’s express direction, which
  254  reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy,
  255  or legal theory of the attorney or the association, and which
  256  was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation or for
  257  adversarial administrative proceedings, or which was prepared in
  258  anticipation of such litigation or proceedings until the
  259  conclusion of the litigation or proceedings.
  260         b.2. Information obtained by an association in connection
  261  with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a
  262  unit.
  263         c.3. Personnel records of association or management company
  264  employees, including, but not limited to, disciplinary, payroll,
  265  health, and insurance records. For purposes of this sub
  266  subparagraph subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not
  267  include written employment agreements with an association
  268  employee or management company, or budgetary or financial
  269  records that indicate the compensation paid to an association
  270  employee.
  271         d.4. Medical records of unit owners.
  272         e.5. Social security numbers, driver license numbers,
  273  credit card numbers, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers,
  274  facsimile numbers, emergency contact information, addresses of a
  275  unit owner other than as provided to fulfill the association’s
  276  notice requirements, and other personal identifying information
  277  of any person, excluding the person’s name, unit designation,
  278  mailing address, property address, and any address, e-mail
  279  address, or facsimile number provided to the association to
  280  fulfill the association’s notice requirements. Notwithstanding
  281  the restrictions in this sub-subparagraph subparagraph, an
  282  association may print and distribute to parcel owners a
  283  directory containing the name, parcel address, and all telephone
  284  numbers of each parcel owner. However, an owner may exclude his
  285  or her telephone numbers from the directory by so requesting in
  286  writing to the association. An owner may consent in writing to
  287  the disclosure of other contact information described in this
  288  sub-subparagraph subparagraph. The association is not liable for
  289  the inadvertent disclosure of information that is protected
  290  under this sub-subparagraph subparagraph if the information is
  291  included in an official record of the association and is
  292  voluntarily provided by an owner and not requested by the
  293  association.
  294         f.6. Electronic security measures that are used by the
  295  association to safeguard data, including passwords.
  296         g.7. The software and operating system used by the
  297  association which allow the manipulation of data, even if the
  298  owner owns a copy of the same software used by the association.
  299  The data is part of the official records of the association.
  300         (g)1.By October 1, 2017, an association with 500 or more
  301  units which does not manage timeshare units shall post digital
  302  copies of the documents specified in subparagraph 2. on its
  303  website.
  304         a.The association’s website must be:
  305         (I)An independent website or web portal wholly owned and
  306  operated by the association; or
  307         (II)A website or web portal operated by a third-party
  308  provider with whom the association owns, leases, rents, or
  309  otherwise obtains the right to operate a web page, subpage, web
  310  portal, or collection of subpages or web portals dedicated to
  311  the association’s activities and on which required notices,
  312  records, and documents may be posted by the association.
  313         b.The association’s website must be accessible through the
  314  Internet and must contain a subpage, web portal, or other
  315  protected electronic location that is inaccessible to the
  316  general public and accessible only to unit owners and employees
  317  of the association.
  318         c.Upon a unit owner’s written request, the association
  319  must provide the unit owner with a username and password and
  320  access to the protected sections of the association’s website
  321  that contain any notices, records, or documents that must be
  322  electronically provided.
  323         2.A current copy of the following documents must be posted
  324  in digital format on the association’s website:
  325         a.The recorded declaration of condominium of each
  326  condominium operated by the association and each amendment to
  327  each declaration.
  328         b.The recorded bylaws of the association and each
  329  amendment to the bylaws.
  330         c.The articles of incorporation of the association, or
  331  other documents creating the association, and each amendment
  332  thereto. The copy posted pursuant to this sub-subparagraph must
  333  be a copy of the articles of incorporation filed with the
  334  Department of State.
  335         d.The rules of the association.
  336         e.Any management agreement, lease, or other contract to
  337  which the association is a party or under which the association
  338  or the unit owners have an obligation or responsibility.
  339  Summaries of bids for materials, equipment, or services must be
  340  maintained on the website for 1 year.
  341         f.The annual budget required by s. 718.112(2)(f) and any
  342  proposed budget to be considered at the annual meeting.
  343         g.The financial report required by subsection (13) and any
  344  proposed financial report to be considered at a meeting.
  345         h.The certification of each director required by s.
  346  718.112(2)(d)4.b.
  347         i.All contracts or transactions between the association
  348  and any director, officer, corporation, firm, or association
  349  that is not an affiliated condominium association or any other
  350  entity in which an association director is also a director or
  351  officer and financially interested.
  352         j.Any contract or document regarding a conflict of
  353  interest or possible conflict of interest as provided in ss.
  354  468.436(2) and 718.3026(3).
  355         k.The notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda for
  356  the meeting, as required by s. 718.112(2)(d)3., no later than 14
  357  days before the meeting. The notice must be posted in plain view
  358  on the front page of the website, or on a separate subpage of
  359  the website labeled “Notices” which is conspicuously visible and
  360  linked from the front page. The association must also post on
  361  its website any document to be considered and voted on by the
  362  owners during the meeting or any document listed on the agenda
  363  at least 7 days before the meeting at which the document or the
  364  information within the document will be considered.
  365         l. Notice of any board meeting, and the agenda and any
  366  other document required for the meeting as required by s.
  367  718.112(2)(c), which must be posted no later than the date
  368  required for notice pursuant to s. 718.112(2)(c).
  369         3.The association shall ensure that the information and
  370  records described in paragraph (c), which are not permitted to
  371  be accessible to unit owners, are not posted on the
  372  association’s website. If protected information or information
  373  restricted from being accessible to unit owners is included in
  374  documents that are required to be posted on the association’s
  375  website, the association shall ensure the information is
  376  redacted before posting the documents online.
  377         (13) FINANCIAL REPORTING.—Within 90 days after the end of
  378  the fiscal year, or annually on a date provided in the bylaws,
  379  the association shall prepare and complete, or contract for the
  380  preparation and completion of, a financial report for the
  381  preceding fiscal year. Within 21 days after the final financial
  382  report is completed by the association or received from the
  383  third party, but not later than 120 days after the end of the
  384  fiscal year or other date as provided in the bylaws, the
  385  association shall mail to each unit owner at the address last
  386  furnished to the association by the unit owner, or hand deliver
  387  to each unit owner, a copy of the most recent financial report
  388  or a notice that a copy of the most recent financial report will
  389  be mailed or hand delivered to the unit owner, without charge,
  390  within 5 business days after upon receipt of a written request
  391  from the unit owner. The division shall adopt rules setting
  392  forth uniform accounting principles and standards to be used by
  393  all associations and addressing the financial reporting
  394  requirements for multicondominium associations. The rules must
  395  include, but not be limited to, standards for presenting a
  396  summary of association reserves, including a good faith estimate
  397  disclosing the annual amount of reserve funds that would be
  398  necessary for the association to fully fund reserves for each
  399  reserve item based on the straight-line accounting method. This
  400  disclosure is not applicable to reserves funded via the pooling
  401  method. In adopting such rules, the division shall consider the
  402  number of members and annual revenues of an association.
  403  Financial reports shall be prepared as follows:
  404         (a) An association that meets the criteria of this
  405  paragraph shall prepare a complete set of financial statements
  406  in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The
  407  financial statements must be based upon the association’s total
  408  annual revenues, as follows:
  409         1. An association with total annual revenues of $150,000 or
  410  more, but less than $300,000, shall prepare compiled financial
  411  statements.
  412         2. An association with total annual revenues of at least
  413  $300,000, but less than $500,000, shall prepare reviewed
  414  financial statements.
  415         3. An association with total annual revenues of $500,000 or
  416  more shall prepare audited financial statements.
  417         (b)1. An association with total annual revenues of less
  418  than $150,000 shall prepare a report of cash receipts and
  419  expenditures.
  420         2. An association that operates fewer than 50 units,
  421  regardless of the association’s annual revenues, shall prepare a
  422  report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of financial
  423  statements required by paragraph (a).
  424         3. A report of cash receipts and disbursements must
  425  disclose the amount of receipts by accounts and receipt
  426  classifications and the amount of expenses by accounts and
  427  expense classifications, including, but not limited to, the
  428  following, as applicable: costs for security, professional and
  429  management fees and expenses, taxes, costs for recreation
  430  facilities, expenses for refuse collection and utility services,
  431  expenses for lawn care, costs for building maintenance and
  432  repair, insurance costs, administration and salary expenses, and
  433  reserves accumulated and expended for capital expenditures,
  434  deferred maintenance, and any other category for which the
  435  association maintains reserves.
  436         (c) An association may prepare, without a meeting of or
  437  approval by the unit owners:
  438         1. Compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statements, if
  439  the association is required to prepare a report of cash receipts
  440  and expenditures;
  441         2. Reviewed or audited financial statements, if the
  442  association is required to prepare compiled financial
  443  statements; or
  444         3. Audited financial statements if the association is
  445  required to prepare reviewed financial statements.
  446         (d) If approved by a majority of the voting interests
  447  present at a properly called meeting of the association, an
  448  association may prepare:
  449         1. A report of cash receipts and expenditures in lieu of a
  450  compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statement;
  451         2. A report of cash receipts and expenditures or a compiled
  452  financial statement in lieu of a reviewed or audited financial
  453  statement; or
  454         3. A report of cash receipts and expenditures, a compiled
  455  financial statement, or a reviewed financial statement in lieu
  456  of an audited financial statement.
  458  Such meeting and approval must occur before the end of the
  459  fiscal year and is effective only for the fiscal year in which
  460  the vote is taken, except that the approval may also be
  461  effective for the following fiscal year. If the developer has
  462  not turned over control of the association, all unit owners,
  463  including the developer, may vote on issues related to the
  464  preparation of the association’s financial reports, from the
  465  date of incorporation of the association through the end of the
  466  second fiscal year after the fiscal year in which the
  467  certificate of a surveyor and mapper is recorded pursuant to s.
  468  718.104(4)(e) or an instrument that transfers title to a unit in
  469  the condominium which is not accompanied by a recorded
  470  assignment of developer rights in favor of the grantee of such
  471  unit is recorded, whichever occurs first. Thereafter, all unit
  472  owners except the developer may vote on such issues until
  473  control is turned over to the association by the developer. Any
  474  audit or review prepared under this section shall be paid for by
  475  the developer if done before turnover of control of the
  476  association. An association may not waive the financial
  477  reporting requirements of this section for more than 3
  478  consecutive years.
  479         (e)If the division determines that an association has not
  480  mailed or hand delivered to the unit owner a copy of the most
  481  recent financial report within 5 business days after receipt of
  482  a written request from the unit owner, the unit owner may give
  483  notice to the division of the association’s failure to comply.
  484  Upon notification, the division shall give notice to the
  485  association that the association must mail or hand deliver the
  486  copy of the most recent financial report to the unit owner and
  487  the division within 5 business days after such notice. Any
  488  association that fails to comply with the division’s request may
  489  not waive the financial reporting requirement provided in
  490  paragraph (d). A financial report received by the division
  491  pursuant to this paragraph shall be maintained, and the division
  492  shall provide a copy of such report to an association member
  493  upon his or her request.
  494         Section 2. Paragraphs (d) and (j) of subsection (2) of
  495  section 718.112, Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph
  496  (p) is added to that subsection, to read:
  497         718.112 Bylaws.—
  498         (2) REQUIRED PROVISIONS.—The bylaws shall provide for the
  499  following and, if they do not do so, shall be deemed to include
  500  the following:
  501         (d) Unit owner meetings.—
  502         1. An annual meeting of the unit owners shall be held at
  503  the location provided in the association bylaws and, if the
  504  bylaws are silent as to the location, the meeting shall be held
  505  within 45 miles of the condominium property. However, such
  506  distance requirement does not apply to an association governing
  507  a timeshare condominium.
  508         2. Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, a vacancy on the
  509  board caused by the expiration of a director’s term shall be
  510  filled by electing a new board member, and the election must be
  511  by secret ballot. An election is not required if the number of
  512  vacancies equals or exceeds the number of candidates. For
  513  purposes of this paragraph, the term “candidate” means an
  514  eligible person who has timely submitted the written notice, as
  515  described in sub-subparagraph 4.a., of his or her intention to
  516  become a candidate. Except in a timeshare or nonresidential
  517  condominium, or if the staggered term of a board member does not
  518  expire until a later annual meeting, or if all members’ terms
  519  would otherwise expire but there are no candidates, the terms of
  520  all board members expire at the annual meeting, and such members
  521  may stand for reelection unless prohibited by the bylaws. If the
  522  bylaws or articles of incorporation permit terms of no more than
  523  2 years, the association Board members may serve 2-year terms if
  524  permitted by the bylaws or articles of incorporation. A board
  525  member may not serve more than four consecutive 2-year terms,
  526  unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the
  527  total voting interests of the association. If the number of
  528  board members whose terms expire at the annual meeting equals or
  529  exceeds the number of candidates, the candidates become members
  530  of the board effective upon the adjournment of the annual
  531  meeting. Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, any remaining
  532  vacancies shall be filled by the affirmative vote of the
  533  majority of the directors making up the newly constituted board
  534  even if the directors constitute less than a quorum or there is
  535  only one director. In a residential condominium association of
  536  more than 10 units or in a residential condominium association
  537  that does not include timeshare units or timeshare interests,
  538  coowners of a unit may not serve as members of the board of
  539  directors at the same time unless they own more than one unit or
  540  unless there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the
  541  vacancies on the board at the time of the vacancy. A unit owner
  542  in a residential condominium desiring to be a candidate for
  543  board membership must comply with sub-subparagraph 4.a. and must
  544  be eligible to be a candidate to serve on the board of directors
  545  at the time of the deadline for submitting a notice of intent to
  546  run in order to have his or her name listed as a proper
  547  candidate on the ballot or to serve on the board. A person who
  548  has been suspended or removed by the division under this
  549  chapter, or who is delinquent in the payment of any monetary
  550  obligation due to the association, is not eligible to be a
  551  candidate for board membership and may not be listed on the
  552  ballot. A person who has been convicted of any felony in this
  553  state or in a United States District or Territorial Court, or
  554  who has been convicted of any offense in another jurisdiction
  555  which would be considered a felony if committed in this state,
  556  is not eligible for board membership unless such felon’s civil
  557  rights have been restored for at least 5 years as of the date
  558  such person seeks election to the board. The validity of an
  559  action by the board is not affected if it is later determined
  560  that a board member is ineligible for board membership due to
  561  having been convicted of a felony. This subparagraph does not
  562  limit the term of a member of the board of a nonresidential
  563  condominium.
  564         3. The bylaws must provide the method of calling meetings
  565  of unit owners, including annual meetings. Written notice must
  566  include an agenda, must be mailed, hand delivered, or
  567  electronically transmitted to each unit owner at least 14 days
  568  before the annual meeting, and must be posted in a conspicuous
  569  place on the condominium property at least 14 continuous days
  570  before the annual meeting. Upon notice to the unit owners, the
  571  board shall, by duly adopted rule, designate a specific location
  572  on the condominium property or association property where all
  573  notices of unit owner meetings shall be posted. This requirement
  574  does not apply if there is no condominium property or
  575  association property for posting notices. In lieu of, or in
  576  addition to, the physical posting of meeting notices, the
  577  association may, by reasonable rule, adopt a procedure for
  578  conspicuously posting and repeatedly broadcasting the notice and
  579  the agenda on a closed-circuit cable television system serving
  580  the condominium association. However, if broadcast notice is
  581  used in lieu of a notice posted physically on the condominium
  582  property, the notice and agenda must be broadcast at least four
  583  times every broadcast hour of each day that a posted notice is
  584  otherwise required under this section. If broadcast notice is
  585  provided, the notice and agenda must be broadcast in a manner
  586  and for a sufficient continuous length of time so as to allow an
  587  average reader to observe the notice and read and comprehend the
  588  entire content of the notice and the agenda. Unless a unit owner
  589  waives in writing the right to receive notice of the annual
  590  meeting, such notice must be hand delivered, mailed, or
  591  electronically transmitted to each unit owner. Notice for
  592  meetings and notice for all other purposes must be mailed to
  593  each unit owner at the address last furnished to the association
  594  by the unit owner, or hand delivered to each unit owner.
  595  However, if a unit is owned by more than one person, the
  596  association must provide notice to the address that the
  597  developer identifies for that purpose and thereafter as one or
  598  more of the owners of the unit advise the association in
  599  writing, or if no address is given or the owners of the unit do
  600  not agree, to the address provided on the deed of record. An
  601  officer of the association, or the manager or other person
  602  providing notice of the association meeting, must provide an
  603  affidavit or United States Postal Service certificate of
  604  mailing, to be included in the official records of the
  605  association affirming that the notice was mailed or hand
  606  delivered in accordance with this provision.
  607         4. The members of the board of a residential condominium
  608  shall be elected by written ballot or voting machine. Proxies
  609  may not be used in electing the board in general elections or
  610  elections to fill vacancies caused by recall, resignation, or
  611  otherwise, unless otherwise provided in this chapter. This
  612  subparagraph does not apply to an association governing a
  613  timeshare condominium.
  614         a. At least 60 days before a scheduled election, the
  615  association shall mail, deliver, or electronically transmit, by
  616  separate association mailing or included in another association
  617  mailing, delivery, or transmission, including regularly
  618  published newsletters, to each unit owner entitled to a vote, a
  619  first notice of the date of the election. A unit owner or other
  620  eligible person desiring to be a candidate for the board must
  621  give written notice of his or her intent to be a candidate to
  622  the association at least 40 days before a scheduled election.
  623  Together with the written notice and agenda as set forth in
  624  subparagraph 3., the association shall mail, deliver, or
  625  electronically transmit a second notice of the election to all
  626  unit owners entitled to vote, together with a ballot that lists
  627  all candidates. Upon request of a candidate, an information
  628  sheet, no larger than 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, which must be
  629  furnished by the candidate at least 35 days before the election,
  630  must be included with the mailing, delivery, or transmission of
  631  the ballot, with the costs of mailing, delivery, or electronic
  632  transmission and copying to be borne by the association. The
  633  association is not liable for the contents of the information
  634  sheets prepared by the candidates. In order to reduce costs, the
  635  association may print or duplicate the information sheets on
  636  both sides of the paper. The division shall by rule establish
  637  voting procedures consistent with this sub-subparagraph,
  638  including rules establishing procedures for giving notice by
  639  electronic transmission and rules providing for the secrecy of
  640  ballots. Elections shall be decided by a plurality of ballots
  641  cast. There is no quorum requirement; however, at least 20
  642  percent of the eligible voters must cast a ballot in order to
  643  have a valid election. A unit owner may not permit any other
  644  person to vote his or her ballot, and any ballots improperly
  645  cast are invalid. A unit owner who violates this provision may
  646  be fined by the association in accordance with s. 718.303. A
  647  unit owner who needs assistance in casting the ballot for the
  648  reasons stated in s. 101.051 may obtain such assistance. The
  649  regular election must occur on the date of the annual meeting.
  650  Notwithstanding this sub-subparagraph, an election is not
  651  required unless more candidates file notices of intent to run or
  652  are nominated than board vacancies exist.
  653         b. Within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the
  654  board of an association of a residential condominium, each newly
  655  elected or appointed director shall certify in writing to the
  656  secretary of the association that he or she has read the
  657  association’s declaration of condominium, articles of
  658  incorporation, bylaws, and current written policies; that he or
  659  she will work to uphold such documents and policies to the best
  660  of his or her ability; and that he or she will faithfully
  661  discharge his or her fiduciary responsibility to the
  662  association’s members. In lieu of this written certification,
  663  within 90 days after being elected or appointed to the board,
  664  the newly elected or appointed director may submit a certificate
  665  of having satisfactorily completed the educational curriculum
  666  administered by a division-approved condominium education
  667  provider within 1 year before or 90 days after the date of
  668  election or appointment. The written certification or
  669  educational certificate is valid and does not have to be
  670  resubmitted as long as the director serves on the board without
  671  interruption. A director of an association of a residential
  672  condominium who fails to timely file the written certification
  673  or educational certificate is suspended from service on the
  674  board until he or she complies with this sub-subparagraph. The
  675  board may temporarily fill the vacancy during the period of
  676  suspension. The secretary shall cause the association to retain
  677  a director’s written certification or educational certificate
  678  for inspection by the members for 5 years after a director’s
  679  election or the duration of the director’s uninterrupted tenure,
  680  whichever is longer. Failure to have such written certification
  681  or educational certificate on file does not affect the validity
  682  of any board action.
  683         c. Any challenge to the election process must be commenced
  684  within 60 days after the election results are announced.
  685         5. Any approval by unit owners called for by this chapter
  686  or the applicable declaration or bylaws, including, but not
  687  limited to, the approval requirement in s. 718.111(8), must be
  688  made at a duly noticed meeting of unit owners and is subject to
  689  all requirements of this chapter or the applicable condominium
  690  documents relating to unit owner decisionmaking, except that
  691  unit owners may take action by written agreement, without
  692  meetings, on matters for which action by written agreement
  693  without meetings is expressly allowed by the applicable bylaws
  694  or declaration or any law that provides for such action.
  695         6. Unit owners may waive notice of specific meetings if
  696  allowed by the applicable bylaws or declaration or any law.
  697  Notice of meetings of the board of administration, unit owner
  698  meetings, except unit owner meetings called to recall board
  699  members under paragraph (j), and committee meetings may be given
  700  by electronic transmission to unit owners who consent to receive
  701  notice by electronic transmission.
  702         7. Unit owners have the right to participate in meetings of
  703  unit owners with reference to all designated agenda items.
  704  However, the association may adopt reasonable rules governing
  705  the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner participation.
  706         8. A unit owner may tape record or videotape a meeting of
  707  the unit owners subject to reasonable rules adopted by the
  708  division.
  709         9. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, any vacancy
  710  occurring on the board before the expiration of a term may be
  711  filled by the affirmative vote of the majority of the remaining
  712  directors, even if the remaining directors constitute less than
  713  a quorum, or by the sole remaining director. In the alternative,
  714  a board may hold an election to fill the vacancy, in which case
  715  the election procedures must conform to sub-subparagraph 4.a.
  716  unless the association governs 10 units or fewer and has opted
  717  out of the statutory election process, in which case the bylaws
  718  of the association control. Unless otherwise provided in the
  719  bylaws, a board member appointed or elected under this section
  720  shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term of the seat being
  721  filled. Filling vacancies created by recall is governed by
  722  paragraph (j) and rules adopted by the division.
  723         10. This chapter does not limit the use of general or
  724  limited proxies, require the use of general or limited proxies,
  725  or require the use of a written ballot or voting machine for any
  726  agenda item or election at any meeting of a timeshare
  727  condominium association or nonresidential condominium
  728  association.
  730  Notwithstanding subparagraph (b)2. and sub-subparagraph 4.a., an
  731  association of 10 or fewer units may, by affirmative vote of a
  732  majority of the total voting interests, provide for different
  733  voting and election procedures in its bylaws, which may be by a
  734  proxy specifically delineating the different voting and election
  735  procedures. The different voting and election procedures may
  736  provide for elections to be conducted by limited or general
  737  proxy.
  738         (j) Recall of board members.—Subject to s. 718.301, any
  739  member of the board of administration may be recalled and
  740  removed from office with or without cause by the vote or
  741  agreement in writing by a majority of all the voting interests.
  742  A special meeting of the unit owners to recall a member or
  743  members of the board of administration may be called by 10
  744  percent of the voting interests giving notice of the meeting as
  745  required for a meeting of unit owners, and the notice shall
  746  state the purpose of the meeting. Electronic transmission may
  747  not be used as a method of giving notice of a meeting called in
  748  whole or in part for this purpose.
  749         1. If the recall is approved by a majority of all voting
  750  interests by a vote at a meeting, the recall will be effective
  751  as provided in this paragraph. The board shall duly notice and
  752  hold a board meeting within 5 full business days after the
  753  adjournment of the unit owner meeting to recall one or more
  754  board members. At the meeting, the board shall either certify
  755  the recall, in which case Such member or members shall be
  756  recalled effective immediately and shall turn over to the board
  757  within 10 5 full business days after the vote any and all
  758  records and property of the association in their possession, or
  759  shall proceed as set forth in subparagraph 3.
  760         2. If the proposed recall is by an agreement in writing by
  761  a majority of all voting interests, the agreement in writing or
  762  a copy thereof shall be served on the association by certified
  763  mail or by personal service in the manner authorized by chapter
  764  48 and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. The board of
  765  administration shall duly notice and hold a meeting of the board
  766  within 5 full business days after receipt of the agreement in
  767  writing. At the meeting, the board shall either certify the
  768  written agreement to recall a member or members of the board, in
  769  which case such member or members shall be recalled effective
  770  immediately and shall turn over to the board within 5 full
  771  business days any and all records and property of the
  772  association in their possession, or proceed as described in
  773  subparagraph 3.
  774         3.If the board determines not to certify the written
  775  agreement to recall a member or members of the board, or does
  776  not certify the recall by a vote at a meeting, The board shall,
  777  within 5 full business days after the meeting, file with the
  778  division a petition for arbitration pursuant to the procedures
  779  in s. 718.1255. For the purposes of this section, the unit
  780  owners who voted at the meeting or who executed the agreement in
  781  writing shall constitute one party under the petition for
  782  arbitration. If the arbitrator certifies the recall as to any
  783  member or members of the board, the recall will be effective
  784  upon mailing of the final order of arbitration to the
  785  association. If the association fails to comply with the order
  786  of the arbitrator, the division may take action pursuant to s.
  787  718.501. Any member or members so recalled shall deliver to the
  788  board any and all records of the association in their possession
  789  within 5 full business days after the effective date of the
  790  recall.
  791         3.4. If the board fails to duly notice and hold a board
  792  meeting within 5 full business days after service of an
  793  agreement in writing or within 5 full business days after the
  794  adjournment of the unit owner recall meeting, the recall shall
  795  be deemed effective and the board members so recalled shall
  796  immediately turn over to the board within 10 full business days
  797  after the vote any and all records and property of the
  798  association.
  799         4.5. If the board fails to duly notice and hold the
  800  required meeting or fails to file the required petition, the
  801  unit owner representative may file a petition pursuant to s.
  802  718.1255 challenging the board’s failure to act. The petition
  803  must be filed within 60 days after the expiration of the
  804  applicable 5-full-business-day period. The review of a petition
  805  under this subparagraph is limited to the sufficiency of service
  806  on the board and the facial validity of the written agreement or
  807  ballots filed.
  808         5.6. If a vacancy occurs on the board as a result of a
  809  recall or removal and less than a majority of the board members
  810  are removed, the vacancy may be filled by the affirmative vote
  811  of a majority of the remaining directors, notwithstanding any
  812  provision to the contrary contained in this subsection. If
  813  vacancies occur on the board as a result of a recall and a
  814  majority or more of the board members are removed, the vacancies
  815  shall be filled in accordance with procedural rules to be
  816  adopted by the division, which rules need not be consistent with
  817  this subsection. The rules must provide procedures governing the
  818  conduct of the recall election as well as the operation of the
  819  association during the period after a recall but before the
  820  recall election.
  821         6.7. A board member who has been recalled may file a
  822  petition pursuant to s. 718.1255 challenging the validity of the
  823  recall. The petition must be filed within 60 days after the
  824  recall is deemed certified. The association and the unit owner
  825  representative shall be named as the respondents.
  826         7.8. The division may not accept for filing a recall
  827  petition, whether filed pursuant to subparagraph 1.,
  828  subparagraph 2., subparagraph 4. 5., or subparagraph 6. 7. and
  829  regardless of whether the recall was certified, when there are
  830  60 or fewer days until the scheduled reelection of the board
  831  member sought to be recalled or when 60 or fewer days have
  832  elapsed since the election of the board member sought to be
  833  recalled.
  834         (p)Service providers; conflicts of interest.—An
  835  association that is not a timeshare condominium association may
  836  not employ or contract with any service provider that is owned
  837  or operated by a board member or with any person who has a
  838  financial relationship with a board member or officer.
  839         Section 3. Subsection (4) of section 718.1255, Florida
  840  Statutes, is amended to read:
  841         718.1255 Alternative dispute resolution; voluntary
  842  mediation; mandatory nonbinding arbitration; legislative
  843  findings.—
  845  DISPUTES.—The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and
  846  Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional
  847  Regulation may shall employ full-time attorneys to act as
  848  arbitrators to conduct the arbitration hearings provided by this
  849  chapter. The division may also certify attorneys who are not
  850  employed by the division to act as arbitrators to conduct the
  851  arbitration hearings provided by this chapter section. No person
  852  may be employed by the department as a full-time arbitrator
  853  unless he or she is a member in good standing of The Florida
  854  Bar. A person may only be certified by the division to act as an
  855  arbitrator if he or she has been a member in good standing of
  856  The Florida Bar for at least 5 years and has mediated or
  857  arbitrated at least 10 disputes involving condominiums in this
  858  state during the 3 years immediately preceding the date of
  859  application, mediated or arbitrated at least 30 disputes in any
  860  subject area in this state during the 3 years immediately
  861  preceding the date of application, or attained board
  862  certification in real estate law or condominium and planned
  863  development law from The Florida Bar. Arbitrator certification
  864  is valid for 1 year. An arbitrator who does not maintain the
  865  minimum qualifications for initial certification may not have
  866  his or her certification renewed. The department may not enter
  867  into a legal services contract for an arbitration hearing under
  868  this chapter with an attorney who is not a certified arbitrator
  869  unless a certified arbitrator is not available within 50 miles
  870  of the dispute. The department shall adopt rules of procedure to
  871  govern such arbitration hearings including mediation incident
  872  thereto. The decision of an arbitrator shall be final; however,
  873  a decision shall not be deemed final agency action. Nothing in
  874  this provision shall be construed to foreclose parties from
  875  proceeding in a trial de novo unless the parties have agreed
  876  that the arbitration is binding. If judicial proceedings are
  877  initiated, the final decision of the arbitrator shall be
  878  admissible in evidence in the trial de novo.
  879         (a) Prior to the institution of court litigation, a party
  880  to a dispute shall petition the division for nonbinding
  881  arbitration. The petition must be accompanied by a filing fee in
  882  the amount of $50. Filing fees collected under this section must
  883  be used to defray the expenses of the alternative dispute
  884  resolution program.
  885         (b) The petition must recite, and have attached thereto,
  886  supporting proof that the petitioner gave the respondents:
  887         1. Advance written notice of the specific nature of the
  888  dispute;
  889         2. A demand for relief, and a reasonable opportunity to
  890  comply or to provide the relief; and
  891         3. Notice of the intention to file an arbitration petition
  892  or other legal action in the absence of a resolution of the
  893  dispute.
  895  Failure to include the allegations or proof of compliance with
  896  these prerequisites requires dismissal of the petition without
  897  prejudice.
  898         (c) Upon receipt, the petition shall be promptly reviewed
  899  by the division to determine the existence of a dispute and
  900  compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b). If
  901  emergency relief is required and is not available through
  902  arbitration, a motion to stay the arbitration may be filed. The
  903  motion must be accompanied by a verified petition alleging facts
  904  that, if proven, would support entry of a temporary injunction,
  905  and if an appropriate motion and supporting papers are filed,
  906  the division may abate the arbitration pending a court hearing
  907  and disposition of a motion for temporary injunction.
  908         (d) Upon determination by the division that a dispute
  909  exists and that the petition substantially meets the
  910  requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) and any other applicable
  911  rules, the division shall assign or enter into a contract with
  912  an arbitrator and serve a copy of the petition shall be served
  913  by the division upon all respondents. The arbitrator shall
  914  conduct a hearing within 30 days after being assigned or
  915  entering into a contract unless the petition is withdrawn or a
  916  continuance is granted for good cause shown.
  917         (e) Before or after the filing of the respondents’ answer
  918  to the petition, any party may request that the arbitrator refer
  919  the case to mediation under this section and any rules adopted
  920  by the division. Upon receipt of a request for mediation, the
  921  division shall promptly contact the parties to determine if
  922  there is agreement that mediation would be appropriate. If all
  923  parties agree, the dispute must be referred to mediation.
  924  Notwithstanding a lack of an agreement by all parties, the
  925  arbitrator may refer a dispute to mediation at any time.
  926         (f) Upon referral of a case to mediation, the parties must
  927  select a mutually acceptable mediator. To assist in the
  928  selection, the arbitrator shall provide the parties with a list
  929  of both volunteer and paid mediators that have been certified by
  930  the division under s. 718.501. If the parties are unable to
  931  agree on a mediator within the time allowed by the arbitrator,
  932  the arbitrator shall appoint a mediator from the list of
  933  certified mediators. If a case is referred to mediation, the
  934  parties shall attend a mediation conference, as scheduled by the
  935  parties and the mediator. If any party fails to attend a duly
  936  noticed mediation conference, without the permission or approval
  937  of the arbitrator or mediator, the arbitrator must impose
  938  sanctions against the party, including the striking of any
  939  pleadings filed, the entry of an order of dismissal or default
  940  if appropriate, and the award of costs and attorney attorneys’
  941  fees incurred by the other parties. Unless otherwise agreed to
  942  by the parties or as provided by order of the arbitrator, a
  943  party is deemed to have appeared at a mediation conference by
  944  the physical presence of the party or its representative having
  945  full authority to settle without further consultation, provided
  946  that an association may comply by having one or more
  947  representatives present with full authority to negotiate a
  948  settlement and recommend that the board of administration ratify
  949  and approve such a settlement within 5 days from the date of the
  950  mediation conference. The parties shall share equally the
  951  expense of mediation, unless they agree otherwise.
  952         (g) The purpose of mediation as provided for by this
  953  section is to present the parties with an opportunity to resolve
  954  the underlying dispute in good faith, and with a minimum
  955  expenditure of time and resources.
  956         (h) Mediation proceedings must generally be conducted in
  957  accordance with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and these
  958  proceedings are privileged and confidential to the same extent
  959  as court-ordered mediation. Persons who are not parties to the
  960  dispute are not allowed to attend the mediation conference
  961  without the consent of all parties, with the exception of
  962  counsel for the parties and corporate representatives designated
  963  to appear for a party. If the mediator declares an impasse after
  964  a mediation conference has been held, the arbitration proceeding
  965  terminates, unless all parties agree in writing to continue the
  966  arbitration proceeding, in which case the arbitrator’s decision
  967  shall be binding or nonbinding, as agreed upon by the parties;
  968  in the arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator shall not consider
  969  any evidence relating to the unsuccessful mediation except in a
  970  proceeding to impose sanctions for failure to appear at the
  971  mediation conference. If the parties do not agree to continue
  972  arbitration, the arbitrator shall enter an order of dismissal,
  973  and either party may institute a suit in a court of competent
  974  jurisdiction. The parties may seek to recover any costs and
  975  attorney attorneys’ fees incurred in connection with arbitration
  976  and mediation proceedings under this section as part of the
  977  costs and fees that may be recovered by the prevailing party in
  978  any subsequent litigation.
  979         (i) Arbitration shall be conducted according to rules
  980  adopted by the division. The filing of a petition for
  981  arbitration shall toll the applicable statute of limitations.
  982         (j) At the request of any party to the arbitration, the
  983  arbitrator shall issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses
  984  and the production of books, records, documents, and other
  985  evidence and any party on whose behalf a subpoena is issued may
  986  apply to the court for orders compelling such attendance and
  987  production. Subpoenas shall be served and shall be enforceable
  988  in the manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
  989  Discovery may, in the discretion of the arbitrator, be permitted
  990  in the manner provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
  991  Rules adopted by the division may authorize any reasonable
  992  sanctions except contempt for a violation of the arbitration
  993  procedural rules of the division or for the failure of a party
  994  to comply with a reasonable nonfinal order issued by an
  995  arbitrator which is not under judicial review.
  996         (k) The arbitration decision shall be rendered within 30
  997  days after the hearing and presented to the parties in writing.
  998  An arbitration decision is final in those disputes in which the
  999  parties have agreed to be bound. An arbitration decision is also
 1000  final if a complaint for a trial de novo is not filed in a court
 1001  of competent jurisdiction in which the condominium is located
 1002  within 30 days. The right to file for a trial de novo entitles
 1003  the parties to file a complaint in the appropriate trial court
 1004  for a judicial resolution of the dispute. The prevailing party
 1005  in an arbitration proceeding shall be awarded the costs of the
 1006  arbitration and reasonable attorney attorney’s fees in an amount
 1007  determined by the arbitrator. Such an award shall include the
 1008  costs and reasonable attorney attorney’s fees incurred in the
 1009  arbitration proceeding as well as the costs and reasonable
 1010  attorney attorney’s fees incurred in preparing for and attending
 1011  any scheduled mediation. An arbitrator’s failure to render a
 1012  written decision within 30 days after the hearing may result in
 1013  the cancellation of his or her arbitration certification.
 1014         (l) The party who files a complaint for a trial de novo
 1015  shall be assessed the other party’s arbitration costs, court
 1016  costs, and other reasonable costs, including attorney attorney’s
 1017  fees, investigation expenses, and expenses for expert or other
 1018  testimony or evidence incurred after the arbitration hearing if
 1019  the judgment upon the trial de novo is not more favorable than
 1020  the arbitration decision. If the judgment is more favorable, the
 1021  party who filed a complaint for trial de novo shall be awarded
 1022  reasonable court costs and attorney attorney’s fees.
 1023         (m) Any party to an arbitration proceeding may enforce an
 1024  arbitration award by filing a petition in a court of competent
 1025  jurisdiction in which the condominium is located. A petition may
 1026  not be granted unless the time for appeal by the filing of a
 1027  complaint for trial de novo has expired. If a complaint for a
 1028  trial de novo has been filed, a petition may not be granted with
 1029  respect to an arbitration award that has been stayed. If the
 1030  petition for enforcement is granted, the petitioner shall
 1031  recover reasonable attorney attorney’s fees and costs incurred
 1032  in enforcing the arbitration award. A mediation settlement may
 1033  also be enforced through the county or circuit court, as
 1034  applicable, and any costs and fees incurred in the enforcement
 1035  of a settlement agreement reached at mediation must be awarded
 1036  to the prevailing party in any enforcement action.
 1037         Section 4. Section 718.129, Florida Statutes, is created to
 1038  read:
 1039         718.129Fraudulent voting activities related to association
 1040  elections; penalties.—The following acts constitute fraudulent
 1041  voting activities related to association elections:
 1042         (1)A person who willfully, knowingly, and falsely swears
 1043  or affirms to an oath or affirmation, or procures another person
 1044  to willfully, knowingly, and falsely swear or affirm to an oath
 1045  or affirmation, in connection with or arising out of voting or
 1046  casting a ballot in an association election commits a felony of
 1047  the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.
 1048  775.083, or s. 775.084.
 1049         (2)A person who willfully and knowingly perpetrates or
 1050  attempts to perpetrate, or willfully and knowingly aids another
 1051  person in perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate, fraud in
 1052  connection with or arising out of a vote or ballot cast, to be
 1053  cast, or attempted to be cast by an elector in an association
 1054  election commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as
 1055  provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
 1056         (3)A person who willfully, knowingly, and fraudulently
 1057  changes or attempts to change a vote or ballot cast, to be cast,
 1058  or attempted to be cast by an elector in an association election
 1059  to prevent such elector from voting or casting a ballot as he or
 1060  she intended in such election commits a felony of the third
 1061  degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.
 1062  775.084.
 1063         (4)(a)A person who willfully and knowingly aids or advises
 1064  another person in committing a violation of this section shall
 1065  be punished as if he or she had committed the violation.
 1066         (b)A person who willfully and knowingly agrees, conspires,
 1067  combines, or confederates with another person in committing a
 1068  violation of this section shall be punished as if he or she had
 1069  committed the violation.
 1070         (c)A person who willfully and knowingly aids or advises a
 1071  person who has committed a violation of this section in avoiding
 1072  or escaping detection, arrest, trial, or punishment shall be
 1073  punished as if he or she had committed the violation. This
 1074  paragraph does not prohibit a member of The Florida Bar from
 1075  giving legal advice to a client.
 1076         Section 5. Subsection (5) is added to section 718.3025,
 1077  Florida Statutes, to read:
 1078         718.3025 Agreements for operation, maintenance, or
 1079  management of condominiums; specific requirements.—
 1080         (5)A party contracting to provide maintenance or
 1081  management services to an association managing a residential
 1082  condominium after transfer of control of the association, as
 1083  provided in s. 718.301, which is not a timeshare condominium
 1084  association, or an officer or board member of such party, may
 1085  not purchase a unit at a foreclosure sale resulting from the
 1086  association’s foreclosure of association lien for unpaid
 1087  assessments or take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. If 50 percent
 1088  or more of the units in the condominium are owned by a party
 1089  contracting to provide maintenance or management services to an
 1090  association managing a residential condominium after transfer of
 1091  control of the association, as provided in s. 718.301, which is
 1092  not a timeshare condominium association, or by an officer or
 1093  board member of such party, the contract with the party
 1094  providing maintenance or management services may be cancelled by
 1095  a majority vote of the unit owners other than the contracting
 1096  party or an officer or board member of such party.
 1097         Section 6. Section 718.3027, Florida Statutes, is created
 1098  to read:
 1099         718.3027Conflicts of interest.—
 1100         (1)Directors and officers of a board of an association
 1101  that is not a timeshare condominium association, and the
 1102  relatives of such directors and officers, must disclose to the
 1103  board any activity that may reasonably be construed to be a
 1104  conflict of interest. A rebuttable presumption of a conflict of
 1105  interest exists if any of the following occurs without prior
 1106  notice, as required in subsection (4):
 1107         (a)Any director, officer, or relative of any director or
 1108  officer enters into a contract for goods or services with the
 1109  association.
 1110         (b)Any director, officer, or relative of any director or
 1111  officer holds an interest in a corporation, limited liability
 1112  corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership, or
 1113  other business entity that conducts business with the
 1114  association or proposes to enter into a contract or other
 1115  transaction with the association.
 1116         (2)If any director, officer, or relative of any director
 1117  or officer proposes to engage in an activity that is a conflict
 1118  of interest, as described in subsection (1), the proposed
 1119  activity must be listed on, and all contracts and transactional
 1120  documents related to the proposed activity must be attached to,
 1121  the meeting agenda. If the board votes against the proposed
 1122  activity, the director, officer, or relative must notify the
 1123  board in writing of his or her intention not to pursue the
 1124  proposed activity, or the director or officer shall withdraw
 1125  from office. If the board finds that any officer or director has
 1126  violated this subsection, the officer or director shall be
 1127  deemed removed from office. The vacancy shall be filled
 1128  according to general law.
 1129         (3)Any director, officer, or relative of any director or
 1130  officer who is a party to, or has an interest in, an activity
 1131  that is a possible conflict of interest, as described in
 1132  subsection (1), may attend the meeting at which the activity is
 1133  considered by the board, and is authorized to make a
 1134  presentation to the board regarding the activity. After the
 1135  presentation, the director, officer, or relative must leave the
 1136  meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the activity.
 1137  Any director or officer who is a party to, or has an interest
 1138  in, the activity must recuse himself or herself from the vote.
 1139         (4)The board must provide notice to unit owners of a
 1140  possible conflict of interest, as described in subsection (1),
 1141  in accordance with the procedures in s. 718.112(2)(c). All
 1142  contracts and transactional documents related to the possible
 1143  conflict of interest must be attached to, and made available
 1144  with, the meeting agenda.
 1145         (5)Any contract entered into between any director,
 1146  officer, or relative of any director or officer and the
 1147  association which has not been properly disclosed as a conflict
 1148  of interest or potential conflict of interest as required by s.
 1149  718.111(12)(g) is voidable and terminates upon the filing of a
 1150  written notice terminating the contract with the board of
 1151  directors which contains the consent of at least 20 percent of
 1152  the voting interests of the association.
 1153         Section 7. Subsection (5) of section 718.303, Florida
 1154  Statutes, is amended, and subsection (8) is added to that
 1155  section, to read:
 1156         718.303 Obligations of owners and occupants; remedies.—
 1157         (5) An association may suspend the voting rights of a unit
 1158  owner or member due to nonpayment of any fee, fine, or other
 1159  monetary obligation due to the association which is more than
 1160  $1,000 and more than 90 days delinquent. Proof of such
 1161  obligation must be provided to the unit owner or member 30 days
 1162  before such suspension takes effect. A voting interest or
 1163  consent right allocated to a unit owner or member which has been
 1164  suspended by the association shall be subtracted from the total
 1165  number of voting interests in the association, which shall be
 1166  reduced by the number of suspended voting interests when
 1167  calculating the total percentage or number of all voting
 1168  interests available to take or approve any action, and the
 1169  suspended voting interests shall not be considered for any
 1170  purpose, including, but not limited to, the percentage or number
 1171  of voting interests necessary to constitute a quorum, the
 1172  percentage or number of voting interests required to conduct an
 1173  election, or the percentage or number of voting interests
 1174  required to approve an action under this chapter or pursuant to
 1175  the declaration, articles of incorporation, or bylaws. The
 1176  suspension ends upon full payment of all obligations currently
 1177  due or overdue the association. The notice and hearing
 1178  requirements under subsection (3) do not apply to a suspension
 1179  imposed under this subsection.
 1180         (8)A receiver may not exercise voting rights of any unit
 1181  owner whose unit is placed in receivership for the benefit of
 1182  the association pursuant to this chapter.
 1183         Section 8. Subsection (5) of section 718.5012, Florida
 1184  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1185         718.5012 Ombudsman; powers and duties.—The ombudsman shall
 1186  have the powers that are necessary to carry out the duties of
 1187  his or her office, including the following specific powers:
 1188         (5) To monitor and review procedures and disputes
 1189  concerning condominium elections or meetings, including, but not
 1190  limited to, recommending that the division pursue enforcement
 1191  action in any manner where there is reasonable cause to believe
 1192  that election misconduct has occurred and reviewing secret
 1193  ballots cast at a vote of the association.
 1194         Section 9. Section 718.71, Florida Statutes, is created to
 1195  read:
 1196         718.71Financial reporting.—An association shall provide an
 1197  annual report to the department containing the names of all of
 1198  the financial institutions with which it maintains accounts, and
 1199  a copy of such report may be obtained from the department upon
 1200  written request of any association member.
 1201         Section 10. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.